Why go one day without shoes? To serve as a reminder of the millions of children living in developing nations who are unable to afford the luxury of shoes and therefore risk injury, disease and infections daily.
Or, simply, to put yourself in their shoes—to go barefoot so kids don’t have to.
April 10 was the national One Day Without Shoes event that was initiated by TOMS shoes. For every one pair of its shoes bought, TOMS donates a pair of shoes to people in third world countries who may not own shoes.
People often forget and take for granted the privilege of wearing shoes. Participants worldwide took off their shoes to spread awareness of the impact that a pair of shoes can have on a life.
More than 3,000 events surrounding the One Day Without Shoes took place in more than 50 countries on April 10. Actors, actresses, musicians, models, companies and professional athletes participated in One Day Without Shoes. More than 500 college campuses in the United States and Canada participated.
On Twitter, One Day Without Shoes and Without Shoes were seen as trending topics.
Is it just another trend that will eventually go out of fashion? Perhaps, but it’s a trend that currently is evoking curiosity that leads to conversation, action and change.
Pierce student Bethany Atwood participated in the One Day Without Shoes challenge.
“My goal was really to get a small glimpse of what everyday life is like for so many people around the world,” Atwood said. “Giving up one luxury for only a day opened my eyes to the many blessings we so often take for granted.”
Atwood’s experience was linked to a personal reason as she has been to Northern India and witnessed many children and families go without shoes, which are to most Americans something that’s considered a basic necessity.
“I believe it was a rather successful day,” Atwood said. “Plenty of interesting looks and good questions, overall a great experience and I plan on doing it again next year.”
It’s easy to be unaware of the infections and life threatening diseases that children in developing countries are faced with. Most Americans don’t face these problems because of the instant accessibility and comfort of shoes at their fingertips.
Pierce student Megan Hesketh also participated in One Day Without Shoes. For her, the cause is personal as she has witnessed first-hand children in West Africa in dire need of shoes.
“Many people in West Africa don’t have shoes. Young girls walk miles without shoes and develop soil-transmitted infections and diseases,” Hesketh said.
In areas such as Africa or India, feet are exposed to dangerous debris such as broken glass and poisonous plants if the people can’t afford the necessity of shoes.
Shoes protect against injury and provide a tool for basic hygiene and sanitation for feet.
According to Onedaywithout shoes.com more than 74 million people are infected by hookworm, which can cause intestinal pain, weakness and cognitive impairment.
Many children are unable to attend school due to inadequate footwear. They lack the basic protection and One Day Without Shoes is designed to raise awareness for the children that are at risk.
The hazards of living without shoes can cause debilitating and harmful diseases that can be prevented by people who become aware of an issue and take action to promote positive change.
The Puyallup Post is the award-winning student news of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2017. Twitter/Instagram @puyalluppost